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Winter Meetings Update: Bay decision with Indians near?

Winter Meetings Update: Bay decision with Indians near?
December 5, 2012
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Here are some quick notes and news bits connected to the Indians coming out of Nashville in day three of the winter meetings today. I will have a much more thorough update on all of this and more in my Winter Meetings daily recap piece later this afternoon:

- The rumor with regard to the Indians that continues to dominate the winter meetings is that they are looking at many potential deals for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. This morning Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports mentioned that there is momentum building for a three or more team deal where the Indians would send Cabrera to the Diamondbacks and get young players in return. One of those young players could be right-hander Trevor Bauer whom MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince says the Indians have a framework of a deal in place for. The Cabrera talks are fluid, and could continue to gain momentum through the day before a deal potentially happens tonight or tomorrow.

- Outfielder Jason Bay is nearing a decision between the Indians and Mariners and it could be made today. He has a one year guaranteed deal on the table from the Indians. The Cubs are also said to be in the mix, but more on the periphery.

- The market for Shin-Soo Choo remains cool, but could start to heat up as the free agent market for outfielders continues to dry up. He is a player that could be dealt later this month when his market improves.

- The Indians have talked to the agent of Kevin Youkilis. This is not a surprise as they are expected to be one of his strongest suitors.

- With the loss of Shane Victorino to the Red Sox yesterday, there is a feeling in the industry the Indians will turn their focus to Nick Swisher and Cody Ross.

- According to John Heyman of CBS Sports, the Indians have been mentioned as a team that is looking into third baseman/first baseman Mark Reynolds.

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User Comments

Joe
December 5, 2012 - 4:01 PM EST
Bay is from British Columbia, so Seattle not a surprise.Good for him. Looks like Youkilis and Ross are the last 2 in play. Now, do the big deal. Push the button!!!!!! NOW !!!!!
Seth
December 5, 2012 - 3:40 PM EST
Thank you Mariners. You've given us Choo and Asdrubal, and now you've saved us from Jason Bay.
Seth
December 5, 2012 - 3:09 PM EST
Shy, there's a reason they say "there's no such thing as a pitching prospect". It is inherently dangerous, the risk of catastrophic injury is much greater than with position players. Look at Pineda. Or, everyone was so hot for Philllies' prospect Drabek, who's now two years into an injury-filled, replacement-level-performance career. Not to say teams can't be better or worse at evaluating injury risk, guys like Pineda, or Jason Knapp, had elevated risk and teams would've been smart to stay away. But I would say there is legitimate concern about Bauer too. He was shut down at the end of last year, and suddenly the D-backs are shopping him? He ended the year by walking more guys than innings pitched in his last few starts. That in itself should give everyone pause about dealing for him.
Shy
December 5, 2012 - 2:51 PM EST
Seth, you say pitching prospects are a fickle thing. Yeah, if you're Chris Antonetti and don't know what you're looking at. You have to be good at it, and Chris and Mark are not. I'm wondering if Charles Nagy has been consulted on this. He was in Cleveland of course when ShapEEro (you only pronounce it ShapEYEro if you don't want people to know you're Jewish) took over from John Hart. Charles is kind of boring and anal as well and may be scared of the 475' long toss and the force of nature that is Trevor Bauer... He would probably prefer to work with Tyler Skaggs who is more predictable. Predictability of course is not what makes an outstanding pitcher. I have to go to work, check you guys later, hopefully there will be some good news when I get back tonite
Schnabs
December 5, 2012 - 2:46 PM EST
Compared to what he is relatively worth, Nick Swisher's desirability is slightly deflated because he received a qualifying offer and the loss of a first round draft pick for any team signing him. Except for the bottom nine teams (Pittsburgh's extra pick from not signing Appell counts in regards to the rule) in the standings which will only lose their second round pick. Therefore, Swisher may be a relative "bargain," and in this case being the fifth worst team in the ML last year may be a slight advantage.

Also, I'm surprised as to how much Cabrera is worth in this market. The fact that the Indians are realistically looking for two premium pitching prospects is pretty amazing. Bauer and Holland even if we have to kick in something else would be a coup.
Seth
December 5, 2012 - 2:15 PM EST
That would be asking a lot for Asdrubal, which is good. I might be tempted to trade Asdrubal for Bauer straight up, but pitching prospects are such a fickle thing, so that could end up as a very bad move. My feeling for Asdrubal is epitomized by his defense: he can be really fun to watch, making great plays, but then he can be a pain to watch, screwing up easy ones ... if he were to dedicate himself to conditioning in the offseason he could be great, but I could definitely also see him go the way of Baerga, and thinking he'll change his ways is not wise. His declining agility is obvious in his stolen base numbers and defensive range, and he wears down in the second half, and that's going to amplify as he gets a little older. Wouldn't hate to see him go now that they at least have a viable, if not as good, replacement in Aviles, and if Bauer turns out like most expect, that could be a big win. Risky, though, to trade a good position player for a pitching prospect, and Arizona seems to have kind of soured on him, so that's a bit of a red flag. Unlike the Jimenez trade, I ultimately think this would be a risk worth taking.
shy
December 5, 2012 - 1:55 PM EST
Bauer has Cy Young stuff. IMO he is unhittable right now as Timmy Lincecum was in 2009 and 2010 or as Steven Strasburg is right now. And the fans and media will love him. I like Skaggs alot as well, although he projects more as a 2 or 3 and needs to develop another pitch to dominate in the bigs. If Antonetti leaves Nashville w/o one of these guys, he's an idiot, but we already know that. Ross, Swisher, no. Great guys, slightly better than average offensive players, poor defensively and in decline. Don't go there.
Richard
December 5, 2012 - 1:31 PM EST
I would try to get an answer from Swisher before I give a dime to Bay. Swisher fills more needs and may affect what you want in return for other trades.
Tony
December 5, 2012 - 1:27 PM EST
Any deal for Cabrera will be for more than just one player in return. Bauer, Skaggs or Olt would simply only be the headliner. They would get more. If they were only going to get Bauer for Cabrera or Skaggs for Cabrera, that deal would have been completed weeks ago.
Cleveland fan in Cali
December 5, 2012 - 1:21 PM EST
Jason Bay.... no. I'd prefer Swisher over Ross and agree that the Indians need to make a decisive move on either quick before it's too late. I hope A&S hold off for two MLB-ready prospects for Cabrera: a simple one & one for either Bauer/Skaggs, to me, isn't enough. As Rob said: there's no point in re-tooling a broken machine when it needs a complete over-haul. Let's rebuild a take a step backwards to move forward.
Seth
December 5, 2012 - 1:00 PM EST
Joe, I don't think Victorino's contract is THAT absurd. I think it's a weird move for the Red Sox, and I don't think the Indians should've committed to 4/44, but in general the dollars aren't crazy. If the Red Sox had a need for a CF, then them going hard after Victorino would've made more sense, but they already have Ellsbury. Value-wise, it may not work out bad. I thought he would be discounted more because he was coming off a bad year, and the discount wasn't as big as people thought it would be. Over the last 4 years though he's averaged about 4 WAR/year. He doesn't need to be nearly that good for the money Boston's giving him to make sense, if you expect him to average 2.5 WAR over the next 3 years, 3/39 is about exactly right. If he were playing CF in Boston, I'd say he was worth it, but I'd think Swisher would've made a lot more sense for the Red Sox, I don't get why they wanted Victorino so badly, or at all. Maybe they plan on trading Ellsbury, and still signing Swisher, who knows. Or maybe Cherington made a dumb move.

The Indians need to sign Ross, right now. I have a feeling they're going to spin their wheels on Swisher, get outbid, then try to fall back to Ross but Ross will have already received an offer he likes from someone else. They should focus on Ross and Youkilis.
shy
December 5, 2012 - 12:45 PM EST
If this were an episode of the Twilight Zone there would be a bus. The destination sign would say Diamond Heights, Cleveland. And on this bus would be Johnny Damon, Shelley Duncan, David Delucci, Derek Lowe, Joe Borowski, Jason Bay, you get the idea. Everybody that gets on this bus gets new eyes, new knees, new shoulders. and a fresh white uniform. When they walk out of the tunnel they are at a stadium that looks eerily like the Jake. They are on a perfectly manicured diamond on a perfect day and the stands are filled with devoted fans who watched them and those who came before them for the last 120 years. Then Rod Serling comes out and says" These men thought they were signing up for one last pennant run- and they were- in the Twilight Zone"
Rob
December 5, 2012 - 12:42 PM EST
Just commit to the rebuild, no point in bringing in Bay. He's 34, on a massive decline and will be out of baseball within the next year. Just get Cabrera, Choo, Perez, Jimenez, and possibly Joe Smith traded accumulate as many high level prospects as possible. Stop this, we're in on this guy and that guy. Just realize the pitching cupboard is bare here, without high end arms everything else we do is pointless. We can't afford FA high end starting pitching and we can't afford top FA level power, these have to come through trades.
Joe
December 5, 2012 - 12:40 PM EST
Boy, after seeing some of the deals being handed out, I can see the problems facing Antonetti are perhaps greater than meets the eye. Victorino's contract is absurd. How can these owners be so smart to accumulate millions in business but be so stupid when it comes to sports. They keep saying they have to run their franchises like a business, bit I'm not seeing the correlation. Kudo's to Antonetti/Shapiro for not overpaying for these fringe players, and that is all they are. Looks like trades are the best way to go in all this. And, depending on $$, perhaps Ross and Bay may be cheaper alternatives.
Seth
December 5, 2012 - 12:19 PM EST
Jason Bay? .165/.237/.299 with a 27% K-rate, would seem to indicate a guy who is about finished. I think picking up guys like Bay is one of the worst things a small-market team like the Indians can do. Throwing money away for nothing. They'd get the same or better production from Canzler, or the Laporta. Hell, if this thought is a right-handed bat who can DH, they'd probably get more production from Lou Marson. Seattle seems like a perfect spot for him. He can hit .120 and blame it on Safeco.

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